The Giants may be taking a roundhouse kick from the New York media (and deservedly so) but they can’t complain when they look at their depth chart at defensive end. If there’s another team in the league, wait, forget it. There simply isn’t another team in the league with three guys like Tuck, Umenyiori and Pierre-Paul on the edges.
That is why the Bears may consider their second preseason game more important than either their third or fourth – both of those coming against subpar defensive opponents in Tennessee and Cleveland. The Bears understand their most glaring weakness is along the offensive line and also understand their most important task is developing that line into a cohesive unit by the time John Abraham & Friends arrive at Soldier Field on the eleventh of September.
They’ll be presented with no better opportunity than Monday night. They’re back in the New Meadowlands, the Air Conditioner in the Swamp, where it all seemed to fall apart for the line a year ago. They’re back in the stadium that allowed Bears fans their first look at the great Todd Collins in 2010. They’ll also be on Monday Night Football, and based on the almost-ridiculous preseason ratings thus far, in front of a huge audience. If the line falters triumphantly early, the criticism from the local media will spread to the national media quicker than an STD spread among the original Broadway cast of Hair. If the edge blockers neutralize the Giants edge attack, hope and optimism will spring eternal from the murky depths of Mike Tice’s post-practice bath water.
It is only preseason, of course. Any errors made Monday night can surely be rectified in the three weeks until the real games start. But Monday night can and should serve as the litmus test. Who’s ready? Who’s not? Who needs help? Who’s helpless? If Tice is having trouble figuring that out in practice, he’ll get proper assistance from Tuck, Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul.